Wednesday, 30 July 2008
We only slept about 4 hours on the plane so are still trying to catch up before resuming normal life. We'll let you know what that looks like once we've worked it out!
Sarah. (who is now on the same time zone so happy to accept phone calls in addition to any other means of communication! ;-) )
Sunday, 27 July 2008
We will miss
-fab friends we have met here
-having Uncle Sam with us all the time
-swimming outside every day (this is what Tom said)
-not having to cook (some of the time anyway) and wash up
-meeting green lizards and other interesting creatures
-big fridges with ice dispensers!
We look forward to
-seeing our family and friends (wooohoooo)
-being able to walk everywhere
-catching up on sleep
-not having to walk round the dorm to get to the bathroom or kitchen
-Tom and Joshua actually sitting down at mealtimes and eating
-having time to process the last month
-playing Bob toys (this is what Tom said when i asked him!)
-finding some earings after losing one firefighting and one life-saving!
Saturday, 26 July 2008
The shell in the background is the shell they live in before breaking out of the back of it, shedding the skin and becoming the beautiful creature you can see in the foreground. This is just an annual example but others are famous for having a life cycle of either 11 years or 17 years apparently with a vast number appearing periodically. They make a particularly unique sound with a long lasting rattle that rises in pitch.
For the last week we have been in a different classroom for the BST and we got this picture of a nest literally right outside over the boardwalk:
We had to do a variety of different things:
- jump in with life jacket and then swim 20m
- tread water
- get into liferaft from poolside
- throw the sea anchor
- get into the liferaft from the water
- put on a gumby suit in less than 2 minutes (the big red sea survival wetsuits)
- jump in in the gumby suit
- form a string of people in the suits and manouver around while joined together
- get in to the liferaft in the gumby suits (hilarious!)
- turn over the liferaft after it had capsized (also good fun)
We followed up with an all you can eat Pizza meal at CiCi's where we pigged out a bit too much after all of the exertion. We have our last 3 hours tomorrow for debrief and people start leaving straight after.
We will miss all of the people on the course and hope to meet up with them again soon on the Africa Mercy.
Tommy and Sarah
Friday, 25 July 2008
Poor Sam is having less fun than us as his days with the boys are long this week and tonight we are out 4-9 so he will have to put them to bed. At least its the final bit! We're looking forward to returning for a rest - hopefully having completed our American coast guard approved basic safety training!
Thursday, 24 July 2008
We have now been swopping photos so we now have about a million to show everyone! And we've pinched all John's - our fab neighbour/resident photographer!
Now we have to play games to eat chocolate or something...I just heard the word chocolate (and more to the point British chocolate....which i have been having withdrawal from...American chocolate being 'different'....)...so I am there....
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
We started at 6 to make sure we got most of it done before the heat of the day. As it turned out we didn't sleep particularly well. Sarah was paranoid we would sleep through and because we couldn't set an alarm (it would wake the boys) she kept asking me what the time was all night. In the end we were woken up by our neighbour at 5:48! We still managed to muster in time though - a bit of bed hair though!
The drills were good fun. Sarah didn't like having the mask on her face (she is a bit claustrophobic) but she did really well to do all of the tasks - including one with the mask on and then a blindfold over that to simulate smoke.
We had five actual fire simulations. The first was a simulated electrical fire using CO2 extinguishers. Then we got our hands on a hose and stoppped a fuel leak. The third was a rescue of a 165lb dummy (blindfolded) followed by using a dry chemical extinguisher to put out an oil fire. Finally they set up a larger fire in the container and we went in in pairs to put it out.
The team spirit was really good but it was extremely hard work - especialy once it started getting warm. Three people didn't manage to finish the exercises due to the heat.
We finished at around 11:30 and headed straight for the pool.
After lunch (double portion - very hungry!) we had a writtten test which was fine for both of us and now we are ready to collapse. It has been a fun day!
Sarah - who is looking forward to taking many hilarious photos tomorrow to distract myself from the thought of having to enter a burning building.
Monday, 21 July 2008
Monday 7.45-12.30 and1-5 fire fighting instruction
Tuesday 6-10.30 Fire fighting practical, 1-3 fire fighting test, 4.30-5.45 meeting
Wednesday 7.45-12.30 and 1-5 CPR/first aid
Thursday 7.45 -12.30 personal safety, 1-5 survival
Friday 7.45-12.30 and1-4 survival, 4-9 water survival practical/dinner
Sounds fun??? So glad most people are far enough away they can't come and witness any of the above! Please pray that the fire-fighting day is not so hot and that we don't drown on Friday, so that we can fly home next monday!!!
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Dave and Helen Lyth Blog
Aberdeen West African Fistula Centre
Saturday, 19 July 2008
We're having to say goodbye today to Dr Dave and Helen Lyth, although we hope that we might be able to visit Sierra Leone before long to see what they are doing and to visit some Eden missionaries.
Friday, 18 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Kim told us about the Ship helping set up mini-buisnesses to help women become self-sufficient, they were taught different industries over a period of many months, all were making a profit, their families were being fed (having previously not), yet when the ship returned they had all stopped. The Ship folk tried to get to the bottom of why this happened, as it had appeared so successful - and it seemed that they thought this was the only way to become friends with the Ship people (and relationships are a high priority) that they had done it but ultimately they had a fatalistic midset - they belived they couldn't actually change anything or make a difference to escape poverty and feed their families. Its hard to get it from a Western perspective when we think the answer is simple!
Sam and the boys are all doing fine (although you can read his version on his blog at samthemanny.blogspot.com ) except for Sam feeling a bit under the weather today- obvious to the rest of us by the lack of food being consumed and seeming more subdued than usual.
We had our class pictures taken and were offered a family one - thinking this would be useful for any future newsletters we took the opportunity - however Joshua did not want to be parted from a visiting cat, so if you ever get a Farrell family picture with a ginger cat you'll know why!
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Saturday, 12 July 2008
We've just finished a week in class and been for a lovely walk (thanks to Dave our tour guide!) and seen a turtle, some lizards and lots of small bugs. We're off to Tyler State Park for 6 hours of silent retreat tomorrow . That should give us a but of time to process it all, if we don't fry first - they have warned us that it may be over 35 degrees...
Friday, 11 July 2008
I have been to Walmart (thanks Natalie) to buy cereal and milk, bread and peanut butter (and ice cream and other slightly less essentials!) so that we don't have to trek to the dining room every day for breakfast and lunch as it is quite a challenge to get us all there, fed and back before class. Hopefully that will help make the day less stressful.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
We're back in the training room again, the start of this week is about living purposefully. Its being taught by a guy who has been a doctor on all of the previous ships and the current ship! It's not as heavy going as last week and we get to discuss lots of things in groups which breaks it up more. We're feeling positive about the next few days and will let you know how its going...
We managed to fit in swimming with the boys after dinner as we'd enjoyed it so much at the weekend- by the evening at least you don't burn your feet on the ground when you take your shoes off to get in the pool. I actually got chilly after walking back wet and showering the boys before getting dry!
Monday, 7 July 2008
1. God gave all the wallyball genes in the family to Sam, so maybe he did not mean for me to play
2. I was completely terrified of the ball
3. I couldn't even see the ball half the time, let alone hit it
4. I now have very sore arms and wrists, that tingle a bit still from my attempts
Still, no one beat me up for being so terrible so it could have been worse.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
We've had a lovely quiet day with the boys, doing puzzles, playing cars.... Its been great to catch up with family on the phone and we've enjoyed the open air swimming pool this afternoon. We are less anxious about the treading water for a minute thing, but still need to practice the jumping in and being out of our depth bit! Tommy has been taking pictures of birds, bugs and other stuff. I have taken some of a lorry (!!!) for Tom's friend Ben as the cab's are so different, couldn't find a toy one in Walmart though which was a shame. I've had another, less overwhelming trip to Walmart to successfully buy baby wipes and have now experienced Sonic - a kind of drive through drinks place that does great strawberry shakes. It got me out of playing wallyball another night - I think my excuses may be running out and I might have to give in soon???
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Happy 4th of July. We have enjoyed seeing a little of the celebrations - lots of food all day long (although most days are like that here!), going to Cici's pizza, listening to everyone sing the national anthem before the fireworks!!! Even the plant in the classroom was feeling patriotic. Might have to disown Sam though as he seems to be forgetting that he is no longer with under fives after the hours of 5pm.
Friday, 4 July 2008
There was a snake in the bush next to one of the doors out of the family dorm. Here's a couple of pictures as Mark attacked it with a broom (again click to see bigger):
Thursday, 3 July 2008
We had to write a type of poem today, and despite not seeing each other's, Tommy's and mine were really similar. We both had the same theme in mind: God is faithful and we keep trusting our future to him. We feel very laid back about the uncertainty which is very out of character for me, which I think says a lot!
We talked this morning about hot and cold climate cultures, I didn't appreciate just how cold our culture is and how much of a shock Africa is going to be!!! I guess we are being prepared for that by being in Texas. Plus as we wait to know the next step/timing for going to the ship we learn to plan less and become more flexible???
We've just done a psychometric test for personality types that will be used somehow next week - seemed pretty accurate so will be interesting to see what is said about that....
Would be very happy to receive emails/mail/facebook messages/any communication from the outside world!!!
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
He has also been a great asset in terms of building community amongst the gateway team. Firstly within the family dorm and now reaching out the rest of the group, he has been brilliant at initiating community building activities. Today the boys started the task of making pictures for everyone on the course - beginning with residents in the family dorm. This was an idea of his own that has already brought smiles to peoples faces.
Thank you for your prayers for him and the children.
It has been really nice meeting our neighbours here. They are really lovely people from different backgrounds and we have enjoyed spending time with them. Last night we taught everyone how to play Perudo, after an emergency trip to Walmart for some dice. Needless to say neither Sam nor I won!